The Perfect Vegan Lentil Loaf should be deliciously rich, moist and juicy, and easy to make. Well, we give you a 10-ingredient healthy, hearty, rich and flavorful vegan lentil loaf that is not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well.
Peel and chop onion and garlic. Wash and chop celery. Wash, peel and slice carrots. Rinse and chop mushrooms.
Prepare the buckwheat seeds
Soak the buckwheat seeds in boiling water for 15 minutes (½ cup dry will be 1 cup soaked at the end). If you can squash the seeds with your fingers then they are soft enough. (You can certainly do overnight soaking in warm water.)
When the seeds are soft, drain the soaking water and add fresh water. Use your hand blender or food processor to roughly blend the seeds. It doesn't need to be extra smooth. Stop when you have a paste-like texture.
Sautee the veggies
Heat your frying pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Cook the chopped onion for 1-2 minutes, add the chopped garlic and cook for a few seconds.
Now, add the sliced carrots. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Next is to add the chopped celery, then the seasoning: salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Stir well.
Finally, add the chopped mushroom and cook for 5-6 minutes. When ready, take off the heat.
Blend all ingredients
Get your food processor ready now. Add the chopped veggie mix you just cooked in the frying pan with the brown lentils, the soy sauce, smoked paprika powder and the buckwheat paste. Pulse for a couple of times. Don't blend until everything is mushy and puree. You want to leave some chunks to bite on.
Bake the lentil loaf
Pre-heat the oven to 390 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius). Take your loaf pan and pour in the lentil loaf mixture. I have a silicone one, but if you're not, use parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes.
Maple Tomato Glaze in 5 minutes
Take a small sauce pan and heat it on medium heat. Add tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and corn starch. Cook until glaze thickens enough.
Glaze your lentil loaf when it is cooled down.
What is buckwheat?If you are looking for buckwheat in stores you might come across names like whole grain buckwheat, buckwheat groats or buckwheat seeds. THEY ARE THE SAME! We use this one*. The important part is that is has to be hulled and organic, not roasted or any other way modified. Top tips to make it perfectly every time
Pre-cooking veggies is a must - Raw veggies especially carrots may remain hard even after baking.
Don't blend it until it is a puree! - We recommend only pulsing the mix for a couple of times. If you don't leave chunks and bits, but end up with a puree-like texture, the lentil loaf will be mushy at the end.
Be mindful of the baking time - Especially if you use a fan oven as they tend to be hotter despite setting them for the same temperature. The lentil loaf is ready when they have a dark brown crust.
Bake it with the glaze! - We prefer to apply the glaze after the lentil loaf is ready. However, you can spread the glaze evenly on top and bake it like that. You will end up with a slightly caramelized top. Absolutely delicious!
Make lentil loaf even more interesting - They can be a perfect filling for stuffed veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, butternut squash or stuffed mushrooms. Or why don't you take out a muffin tin and make mini lentil loaves?
How to avoid mushy texture?Have you ended up with a mushy lentil loaf? These are most probable reasons for it:
Canned lentils may contain more moisture than cooked lentils. Make sure you drain them completely. I usually leave them in a fine mesh sieve above the sink until I am working on the other ingredients. This way all drops of moisture can leave in time.
Mushrooms are watery. Even if I am buying the same type of cremini or button mushrooms, sometimes they release more water than expected. Make sure you cook off all moisture during frying.
Not baked long enough. I use a silicone pan with a depth of 6-7 cm (approx. 2 inches). I need to bake it for 40 minutes to make sure it is baked all the way through. If you use a deeper, smaller pan, please be mindful of the baking time.
Cool it on a wire rack. If you try to serve it and cut it while it is still hot, you will end up with a mushy, hot, steamy texture. We recommend to cool it on a wire rack once it is cool enough to touch by hand. That way the lentil loaf is firm enough to hold its shape, but the remaining steam can leave easily.